The Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) through its branches like the one at Childers has been a community lifeline since its inception 98 years ago.
Sadly, problems that appear to be endemic to many volunteer organisations are taking a toll on the Childers Branch of QCWA, with falling membership numbers threatening the survival of the group.
Branch president Rosie Shuttlewood has been appealing through various social media platforms for women interested in joining the branch to attend the regular Tuesday morning get-together at 9.30am at the CWA building in Crescent Street.
“We currently have around 12 active members but through some members not wishing to renew and people like myself moving to other areas, the numbers will probably fall to four or five, which simply isn’t sufficient to maintain the branch.
“The Childers QCWA has a very proud history of community involvement and certainly achieved some prominence during the Backpackers Hostel fire some 20 years ago when we were called upon to assist the community effort in caring for the survivors,” said Rosie.
“Several years ago we also ran a local “Talking Newspaper” service for the benefit of the local vision impaired, but over time the need diminished.”
However, the Childers QCWA is not just about street stalls, morning teas and support for community events like Australia Day or the annual Childers Festival.
QCWA advocates for rural and regional sector
On a broader scale the CWA filters the views, the wants and needs of rural and regional Australia and vigorously advocates for change or support both at home and abroad.
Successes have been evident through welfare and disaster intervention which has seen the organisation distribute more than $10 million to almost 5000 families across Australia in the past 10 years.
Jan Taylor, the longest serving member currently active with the Childers QCWA said it would be disappointing to see the group fold.
“It’s understandable that there just isn’t the same emphasis on community service these days. Everyone seems to be very busy with their own lives,” she said.
Jan, who can lay claim to being one of the most capable food and function organisers within the region, shares that love of community service with husband Col, who is a Rotarian.
She feels there is a lot of personal satisfaction in giving time to your community.
“Often it is not money our community needs but your time and effort. Just helping out by using skills that so many women have.”
For Jan and her fellow members the QCWA has been a place to meet once a week for a few hours to share a natter, enjoy a cup of tea and to look at what projects they can undertake to assist the community.
Rosie said the group meets in premises that were formerly the Apple Tree Creek State School building.
“We would really love to see some ladies come along, even if it is just to experience what our branch is all about.
“We meet Tuesday mornings in Crescent Street from 9.30am until about noon.”
She said a meeting in mid-August would decide the future of the Childers QCWA Branch.
“Hopefully, we can excite some interest for local women to come along and be involved. It’s an organisation with a very long history of doing great things in local communities.”